Emotion as soft power in organisations
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CitationAromaa, Eeva. Eriksson, Päivi. Montonen, Tero. Mills, Albert J. (2020). Emotion as soft power in organisations. Journal of organizational effectiveness, 7 (4) , 341-357. 10.1108/JOEPP-08-2019-0085.
Purpose–Adopting the critical sensemaking (CSM) lens to the micro-level interaction between leader andemployees, the article offers a theoretically informed example of leading with soft power and positive emotionsthat blurs boundaries in democratic organisations.
Design/methodology/approach–The research methodology involves videography and interpretiveanalysis of video-recorded interactions that combines focused ethnography with video analysis. The analysisfocuses on face-to-face meeting interactions between a leader and employees in a small service firm.
Findings–The findings illustrate how restoring the sense of the democratic organisation is an accumulatingand complex phenomenon where explicit and implicit organisational rules and changing identity positions areenacted by constructing affective loyalties, moral and reflex emotions that serve as soft power capacitieshelping the leader and employees to enact meanings attached to a democratic rather than hierarchicalorganisation.
Practical implications–The article provides new insight for human resources practitioners and leaderswho want to build resilient organisations and pay attention to shared, distributed and relational leadershippractices, co-creative work and collective decision-making processes.
Originality/value–The power explored in previous sensemaking studies has been power over, which is mostoften associated with the negative aspects of power, such as domination and suppression, in the pursuit ofspecific performance. The applications of videography method linking ethnography and interpretive analysisof video-recorded interactions are still rare in organisation studies.